Section: Boxing

Boxing: Chris Eubank Sr likens son to Sugar Ray Leonard

Chris Eubank Sr has claimed his son is the most talented boxer since Sugar Ray Leonard.

Brighton’s Eubank Jr, 25, challenges for Billy Joe Saunders’ British, European and Commonwealth middleweight titles at London’s Excel arena on Saturday.

Hatfield’s Saunders, a former Olympian, is the favourite for the fight, which has had an ill-tempered build-up.

“The last person who had this ability was Sugar Ray Leonard,” said Eubank Sr.

“My son is the most dangerous young man I’ve ever come across in boxing, the most dangerous fighter on the planet.

“I was the benchmark, I was the beacon, I was the one everyone was measured against. And I can’t even measure him against me.

“I have never seen anything like him. The great British public has a great journey in front of them over the next 10 years.”

American Leonard, regarded by many as the greatest of the modern era, landed Olympic gold in 1976 before winning world titles in five weight divisions as a professional.

But Eubank Sr has no qualms about comparing his son, undefeated in 18 contests since turning pro in 2011, to Leonard.

“Am I putting too much pressure on him by saying he’s as talented as Sugar Ray Leonard?” Eubank Sr told BBC Sport.

“If I don’t say it to him, he’ll never see it. I have to make him aware that this is what I see. Can he do what I see? I am absolutely certain of that. It’s ridiculous the things he can do.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Boxing: Tony Bellew beats Nathan Cleverly after 12 rounds in Liverpool

Tony Bellew beat Nathan Cleverly in a split decision after a gruelling 12-round fight on Saturday night, avenging his 2011 defeat.

The Liverpool fighter edged the cruiserweight bout in front of his home crowd after moving ahead with a strong ninth round following close early exchanges.

The three judges scored it 114-115 116-112 115-113 to Bellew.

The winner is likely to face reigning WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck.

The British pair, who both weighed in at 14st 3lbs on Friday, both looked exhausted in the latter stages.

“I was getting tagged but I was just walking through it,” Bellew told BBC Radio 5 live. “I love the sport and the glory of it – I just can’t quit.

“I feel like crying – I’m so happy to get home to my three kids. Winning means so much to me. I was gutted about the split decision, I think I won nine rounds.

“I got him in the corner and roughed him up, it was old school. It was only after seven rounds when I realised I wouldn’t get hit with a big shot. I began to creep forward and he was always on the back foot.”

Bellew’s victory gave him revenge for a majority decision defeat to the Welshman in their WBO light-heavyweight showdown at the same Echo Arena venue three years ago.

Since their first fight both men suffered knockout losses against Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev respectively.

After a cagey first few rounds dominated by jabs from both sides, Bellew stepped up the pace in the seventh, without ever landing a significant blow.

Cleverly spent most of the ninth round with his back against the ropes but Bellew missed too often and, as the fight became ragged, the Welshman clung on, only to lose on a split decision.

Cleverly said: “It shows my character, I have come up a weight. His strength showed in the second half. He was using his strength and made it pay. One-one, maybe we will have third fight.”

In response, Bellew said he would “fight anywhere”, including the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. “Let’s do it,” he added.

Read more at BBC Sport